"UNEARTHING VALUED BEINGS AND DOINGS TO RE-EARTH HUMANS"
To communicate climate mitigation, probe and mobilise its absences, depth and scope for learning, living and thriving in the climate crisis, one needs ‘Uncanny Justness’. This project, brings together a team of creative social learning practitioners from South Africa (with some contributions from India and Colombia). In South Africa, a country that paradoxically produces the highest per capita carbon emissions in the world, while having extremely high levels of poverty. There is a desperate need for people to learn, live and thrive while they mobilise to combat the climate crisis together.
The Uncanny Justness project offers a new way of thinking about communication as a catalyst for learning and action. Contrary to approaches that aim to ‘transfer knowledge’ via communications that can promote the pornography of despair, We see communicating climate mitigation as an opportunity for social learning and transformation. Communication strategies are often based on the concept of filling people with information that is usually laced with fear and the unknown. These often debilitating scare tactics strong arm citizens into how they must change constructing disempowering experiences through hierarchies of knowledge and homogenous, contextually disembedded practices. Yet we know that these strategies are not very effective (debilitating in some cases). They create little to no room for human freedom and/or creative flourishing in context, as they often remove people from their local environments and draw their attention to massive, overwhelming global crises.
This project foregrounds human relationality, creativity and flourishing as main narrative.
Uncanny Justness is a transdisciplinary collaboration between journalists, researchers, educational practitioners, artists, social sculptors, filmmakers, poets, online media-geniuses, social development practitioners and educational theorists. We see communicating climate change mitigation rather as an opportunity for listening, empathy, exchange and learning, which has the potential to inspire meaningful change within our beings, and within our local contexts first.
We see communicating climate change as a process of exploring the concerns and realities of people in their contexts and the ways in which their worldviews are shaped and developed. Here in the global south, mitigation is going to rely heavily on re-calibrating the conception of what constitutes ‘a good life’ - i.e. one that does not include the western driven narrative of hyper-consumptive capitalistic ideals. These ideals deeply influence lifestyles of people living in the global south, and are currently, and will in the future increase global south countries’ carbon consumption. Between now and 2050, over half of the global population growth will take place in Africa, and half of the world's children will be living in Africa. Their worldviews around material wealth, wellbeing, and consumption will determine what the world will look like in the next 50 years.
Mitigating climate change and changing our consumptive patterns requires deep transformation of both the ways we live, and how are values are expressed. Robust and radical re-imagining with citizens of what they value being and doing, and exploring what impact these beings and doings have in climate mitigation. Essentially this is a project is a process of unearthing knowledges and ways of being, it is a cultural exchange initiative that draws from creative practice and transgressive social learning. We are less interested in ‘beliefs’ around climate change, and more interested in ‘experiences’ of climate change, and how these shift and transform our worldviews and ways of living and dying on earth.
Some key principles of this work are to unearth, expose, connect and re-earth humans in the era of climate change.
Uncanny |ʌnˈkani|adjective - in this project refers to the critical balance needed between familiar and strange processes in developing social transformation through creative means. It also refers to the need to see uncanny familiarity in humans and more than humans in our world, while also creating the space to respectfully recognise their uniqueness and their personal peculiarity. Justness encapsulates the important work still needed to meaningfully respond to inequality, misogyny, racism, speciesism, heteronormativity and various forms of injustice.
Justness |dʒʌstnəs| noun - encapsulates transgressive and transformative interventions in policy, law, customs and global jurisprudence. Justness also touches on the concept of 'transparent being', and the 'justness' of things, moments, experiences that are 'just as they should be'.
unearth |ʌnˈəːθ| verb [with object] 1 discover (something hidden, lost, or kept secret) by investigation or searching: they have done all they can to unearth the truth.
Unearthing for us is a process of discovery, revealing knowledge, feelings and ideas that are currently hidden, absent or excluded from the contemporary heteronormative, capitalist, structurally racist socio-economic paradigms we occupy. Unearth also refers to the idea that earth is no longer the home we once knew and loved, and we must recognise this reality in our personal and relational contexts.
expose |ɪkˈspəʊz, ɛkˈspəʊz| verb [with object] to expose is to reveal or unmask - while we must unearth hidden knowledges, feelings and ways of being, we see exposing as also a political act of naming those responsible for climate crisis - here we expose injustice and corruption. To expose is also a process of making oneself open and vulnerable, it requires action that is coupled with an ethics of care and compassion. Also we see exposure as widening our aperture and capacity to take in knowledge and expand knowledge sharing out into the world.
connect |kəˈnɛkt| verb [with object] 1 bring together or into contact so that a real or notional link is established. To join together so as to provide access and communication. We are suffering from a collective addiction to oil and fossil fuels, to disposable consumables and to overconsumption. We know addiction is most successfully treating with connection. Connecting with empathy and understanding. To feel connected to and part of something that is contributing to the common good, helps fill the gap that we usually full with capitalist consumption.
re-earth |rɛ|əːθ| verb. The process of transforming ourselves to live more sustainably on earth, this may even be a process of re-existing as opposed to resisting. Indigenous communities in Colombia revealed to us that their actions towards sustainability were not activism based on resistance but rather re-existing, creating opportunities for ways of being and knowing to exist in the contemporary world.
IMAGES BELOW OF SIMILAR UNCANNY JUSTNESS PROCESSES FROM THE PAST